Talk:Armed forces

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Phrasing of "military"[edit]

I'm not sure about US usage, and I know Wikipedia isn't a dictionary, but I always thought "military" was an adjective not a noun. The page seems to describe "army" or "military organisation". Mswake 02:22 Jul 30, 2002 (PDT)

Hmmmm, I'm not certain either. If someone want's to move it, so be it.

The ending isn't very good right now. When I'm more motivated, I'll come back and flesh it out. Anyone want to give it a crack? Dobbs 20:56 Sep 16, 2002 (UTC)

English makes verbs out of nouns and nouns out of adjectives all the time. It's quite common to speak of the armed forces as "the military", but I suppose "armed forces" probably is better. --LDC

Yes, military is a noun. For example, "The military engineered a coup d'état." --Lowellian 20:58, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)

A few things.

Armed force is the use of force when one is armed, strictly speaking. I find the association a bit strained. I think army, or military organization may be better, but I can live with this. But do redirects (as from Military) stay forever? I think this is important, because all the links at the bottom (i.e. Military Science, Military History, Military tactics, Military technology and equipment and Military academy, Military incompetence, military fiat) all have military in them, after all.....

"Armed force" is a noun as well as a verb; "The armed forces of the
United Kingdom". Synonym of "Armed service".
Yes, I believe redirects stay until manually removed - Khendon 14:11 Sep 26, 2002 (UTC)
I don't think that came out right. I meant to say that it is premissible to say "He used armed force against his wife's lover." without having anything to do with armed forces. It just doesn't sound quite like the correct word, especially if someone was doing a search of the Wikipedia to find information.Dobbs 14:43 Sep 26, 2002 (UTC)

I think the edit to remove what some may consider to be United States bias may be a bit premature. I used an example - (A citizen army (also known as a militia, or National Guard in United States)) because I know the name of the national guard without looking it up. Is it the Home Guard in Britain? What about Germany, Bundesweir (?)?

I'm sorry, that was an honest mistake. I cut it out intending to put it
in a list of a few examples a little further down, but then forgot. The
British equivalent is the Territorial Army, but it isn't
primarily a skeleton force in the way you describe. (Nor is its main role
home defense, by the way - it is organised to provide support to the
Regular Army. Conventional home defense is officially considered so
remote a possibility that it's not worth preparing for. I mention
this just for interest :-) - Khendon 14:11 Sep 26, 2002 (UTC)
No problem. The current National Guard system isn't quite a skeleton as well. It is currently formed of long term veterans (many from the Gulf war), who are can be better than their enlisted counterparts (due to having been in a real war). But the basic idea remains to provide a balance between thrift and usefulness. And like the British, we don't expect it to defend the country from invasion either! <GRIN> Dobbs 14:43 Sep 26, 2002 (UTC)

The point of specifing the existence of these guard organizations (much more well trained and organized than what a militia implies), is that their formation (I think it was first by the Swiss, but I have to check) was the tool used by national governments in the mid to late 1900's to form mass armies for combat in WWI. Without the balance between economic and military needs that national guard organizations provide, WWI could not of been fought on the scale it was, or provide practice for truly huge WWII formations. Dobbs 13:52 Sep 26, 2002 (UTC)

Khendon almost got it right, but notice that his example didn't agree with his assertion: "Armed force" is a noun as well as a verb; "The armed forces of the United Kingdom".
* Armed force, a mass noun, means violence employing weaponry.
* An armed force is any group of people acting together, with weapons.
* The armed forces (or the Armed Forces) is a country's national military organization.
I'm going to move this article to armed forces, if possible, or post it on Requested moves if not. Michael Z. 2005-04-16 03:33 Z

Division into army, navy, air force[edit]

"Most militaries are divided into an army, a navy, and an air force."

This is incorrect, but I see where User:Roadrunner is trying to go. No landlocked countries have a navy, and most coastal countries don't either. A few customs patrol boats don't really constitute a Navy in the sense of this article.

"No landlocked countries have a navy" Basically this is correct, but Bolivia, which is a landlocked country, maintains a nominal navy, mainly because it used to have a coastline and lost it to Chile. So they keap a boat or two in that large lake (I forget how to spell it) and call it their navy.
Zaire also has a navy see Mintguy

The same goes with the army / air force distinction. The larger militaries have separate forces, but most militaries (police armies, actually) are just the guys with guns in the country, no matter what those guns are attached to, people or aircraft.

And with the advent of Goldwater-Nichols (United States armed forces), the United States (the largest military in terms of force projection, and lethality, but not troops) may have separate services, but are commanded as a combined arms force. So 'divided' is in terms of training and support, not doctrine or command - which I would argue is much more important as a distinction. This also applies to NATO, as was shown in the combined arms doctrine employed in the first use of the basics of AirLand battle in the Second Gulf War in 1991 against Iraq.

So most militaries (in terms of number of troops) have separate services. But most militaries have (in terms of number of countries) a single army that may or may not operate aircraft. Finally most militaries (in terms of force projection) have a single military with specialists in air, naval, ground, and space systems. Dobbs 02:50 Sep 30, 2002 (UTC)

This article suggests that the United States Marine Corps is a separate entity, when it is in fact under the Department for the Navy, just as the British Royal Marines and Dutch Royal Marines are a part of British Royal Navy and the Dutch Royal Navy. (talk) 10:37, 20 August 2009 (UTC)


I can see changing United States armed forces to United States Armed Forces, but why change armed force to Armed Force? It's generic, not one particular force. -- Zoe

:an armed force is a group of armed men, the Armed Forces mean the combined military branches of a state. Rds865 (talk) 05:19, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

The list by country[edit]

The section "Armed forces around the world" should probably be split out into an article like List of politics by country articles, probably List of militaries by country articles, and made to include links to all the available countries. --Shallot 19:42, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for fixing that, Beland! --Joy [shallot] 17:36, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Benefits and costs[edit]

Is it wrong to say that it would be better to spend money towards improving lives instead of ending them? Bensaccount 00:25, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I wouldn't say that it's "wrong," but it does express a particular point of view that a lot of people would consider an oversimplification. I do happen to agree with you that the world's money (which is really a metaphor for the use of the world's human skill & energy) would be much better spent elsewhere, but the purpose of armed forces is more complicated than just "ending lives," as you imply, although at the bottom line, that is what they do. Nominally, the main purpose of a country's maintaining an armed force is for defense against other countries which have them, and that puts the entire world in a great catch-22 since no one has yet managed to convince everyone simultaneously to forswear violence, even though it is now somewhat possible with spy satellites and other means (arguably, the United Nations' weapons inspections) to be sure of compliance. That probably won't happen anytime soon largely due to smaller nations' fear of economic subjugation by larger nations, where if they find themselves in a cycle of what amounts to slave labor to developed countries, they could, in theory, fight for greater equality. Unless, of course, the biggest nation of them all outdoes itself by keeping up an army ridiculously more advanced than anyone else's so that it can stay in control. Back and forth. And that's a biased oversimplification too, albeit longer. hmm. Anyway, I feel that your statement expresses unneeded bias because it reduces what is probably the world's most complicated, ages-old problem to a simple economic binary choice: spend money improving lives or ending them. It hides the forest with trees. Aratuk 13:08, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC)
This is a very comprehensive view. It should definately go in the article. (right now there is no proverbial forest and no proverbial trees.)Bensaccount 02:01, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Yes it is wrong. Many individuals, rulers and nations as well as companies derive many benefits and great profit from the military. Doing away with it, even if possible, would be detrimental to them. Then you should specify for whom it is better, but then you take sides. Rune X2 23:53, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

List of Vic/Defeats[edit]

I would like to find a list of noteable Military victories/defeats, things that helped reshape military thought, or were the catalyst of a war's outcome. Lessons learned, etc.

However, the first ones I know of are Brienne (Notable Defeat, WW2), Pickett's Charge (Noteable Defeat, US CivWar), Custer's Last Stand (which place to put it?)

Perhaps I should just change it to notable battles. Or something that reflects learning through battles. I think a special place should be made for those that demonstrated a latter epiphany. Assistance please... --Duemellon 19:37, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"Armed forces are the military forces of a nation-state."[edit]

So that mean the Army of the UK is not a Armed Force? For the UK is not a nation-state, tis a multi-nation state (the four nations), and quite a number of countries today are not 'nation-states'. Could change it to: "Armed forces are the military forces of a state." or something. Kurek

The Comintern, al-Qaeda and a host of other organizations are not states or nation states either, yet they constitute armed forces, advocate, and use armed force.Nobs01 17:57, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

next you are going to say the mafia is an armed force. It should be clarified that this means more then a group of armed men. The term is used to describe the official military branches of government. al-Qaeda has no Air Force or Navy that I know of and certianly not an army in either the traditional or contemporary sense. Rds865 (talk) 05:17, 3 April 2008 (UTC)


i've asked on the appropriate pages but never got an answer. I have a question on rank on homework. the geneva convention outlines commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers and "men". compared to the united states army ranks, which ones fall into the three categories? i've got listed that both privates (E-1 % E-2) and private first class are "men". the corporal and sargeant ranks are NCOs and the officer ranks are commissioned officers. is this correct? also, is it universal for paygrades to automatically fit into one of the three categories?

Requested move to Armed forces[edit]

  • An armed force is any group of people acting together, with weapons. But this article is about the armed forces (or the Armed Forces), a country's national military organization.
Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one sentence explanation and sign your vote with ~~~~
  • Support this is my request. Michael Z. 2005-04-17 00:19 Z
  • Support --Philip Baird Shearer 18:02, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. violet/riga (t) 15:55, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Comintern's stated objected was ""by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State." Nobs01 17:30, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This article has been renamed as the result of a move request. violet/riga (t) 15:55, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Military spending[edit]

The military spending graph ought be accompanied by one showing the expenditure in percentage of GNP Rune X2 23:55, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

The graph should also be enlarged if possible.

"Benefits and costs" as a new article[edit]

I think the Benefits & costs section would provide a very good start point to a full article on Defence Economics, Military Economics, or the Economics of Armed Conflict. I did a search and don't see anything on this (I expected to find something under military or warfare). --MCG|(talk) 30 Aug 06

Military Spending Graph[edit]

The actual military spending of the PRC is significantly higher than the official figure given out by the PRC government. The bar graph should reflect not only official PRC military spending figures, but also US estimates. - MSTCrow 00:12, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Phrasing and graph[edit]

In the section with the graph, it should be more clear. It acts like the United States sacrifices civilian living conditions for the military... That is not true. 17:46, 19 October 2007 (UTC)


The reason that the U.S. expenditures are so high is simple: the USA is at war, it has more than 160,000 troops in combat operations. Contralya 17:27, 3 November 2007 (UTC)


Much of the article discuses national armed forces, so why is it not categorised in Military by countries?--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 10:16, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Would some material in Military sociology fit better here?[edit]

I wondered if some of the people who edit here would like to look at the Military sociology article and see if some of the text in it belongs here. That's because that article does not spend much time telling us what military sociology is as a field of study, but it tells us the things that people who might be called military sociologists have said about life in the armed forces. And since they are good, reliable, academic sources for information about the armed forces as social organisations, I thought the material might fit in here. I don't have very strong views on it though and am just looking for the best approach with that article. I found it because it is in need of wikification. Thanks. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:50, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Merge discussion[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Close as "No consensus". - BilCat (talk) 17:58, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Propose merge. Following a brief exchange on the talk page of Military sociology, I propose that this article and Military be merged. As I understand it, in American English the two terms are synonymous, whereas in British English "military" is usually used as the adjective and "armed forces" as the noun. At any rate, there is not enough distinction between the terms to warrant two separate articles. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:07, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. I don't see that there is a meaningful difference. I suggest this merge is announced at WP:MILHIST.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 23:32, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. I propose this article, "Armed Forces", to be merged into "Military". The merger proposal should also be announced in "Military" talk page. Fleet Command (talk) 14:47, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Support, i'll help merge.username 1 (talk) 14:15, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Comment - What's the difference?username 1 (talk) 19:33, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - will expand on this later if needed, but im pretty sure most will oppoes this merger. As mentioned above though when it was raised some time ago, this really needs to be mentioned at WP:MILHIST to get plenty of feed back / views from people involved in this area of articles. BritishWatcher (talk) 19:35, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Support There is not really much of a difference and merging these two articles will provide more info in one place —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ocho85cinco85 (talkcontribs) 01:43, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

I am intrigued by the above archived discussion. 5 supporters of the merge and 2 opposed. There are arguments given supporting the merger. There are no arguments given for why the articles should not merge. It seems to me that there is not a distinction of significance between "military" and "armed forces" so far as what would go into an article. As a Venn diagram these circles would be near perfectly overlapping or (at the very least) concentric. For those who were opposed, please explain. The distinction should probably be highlighted in one of the articles. --MCG (talk) 04:16, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

It's not a vote. - BilCat (talk) 17:05, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
If I understand it correctly, the military is the main (and often the only) part of the armed forces, but in some cases (maybe during a war) the armed forces can also include, for example, border guards, paramilitary organisations, some police forces, guerrillas... They are not a part of the military but they can be a part of the armed forces.
If something like this would be added to the article, we could probably cite some law... The Lithuania article (lt:Ginkluotosios pajėgos) cites a Lithuanian law, but there must be some English speaking country that also makes such a distinction, right? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 20:05, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

"Armed forces" and Military[edit]

Please see a discussion about the relationship between "Armed forces" and Military. Maurreen (talk) 16:14, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Update: Due to Talk page archiving, the discussion mentioned above can now be found at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Military_history/Archive_94#Armed_forces_.2F_Military. — ¾-10 00:40, 12 December 2012 (UTC)